Something I learned this morning: Just as there is no greater motivator for productivity than a deadline, there is no greater push for walking speed than frigid temperatures.
It was so bitterly cold this morning, I felt like my face might fall off. I’ve never walked to my office from the bus stop with such haste; I nearly got hit by a car.* Even the elderly man who got off at the same stop as me was booking it like a young buck. A woman on the bus said she was wearing two scarves this morning.
* This was technically not my fault because the car had a stop sign, but I darted across the intersection like an escaped zoo animal.
But! On the up-side, it’s sunny!**
**that is, until Sunday, when the next round of snow storms hits.
I feel I ought to return to the topic of Scotland since I mentioned it two posts ago and promised to finish the story, which isn’t really a story, but maybe I intended to explain why I was at a University of Glasgow dinner in the first place, and also show you pictures of food.
We had a four course meal that night. The second course included haggis, which is interesting for two reasons.
I lied. Three reasons, none of which pertain to what haggis actually is.***
***I refuse to research this information because I know vaguely what it is and prefer to remain ignorant. But by all means, go ahead and get grossed out by looking it up. Or you can settle with this explanation: it’s a staple Scottish dish made with ingredients more questionable than those of the American hotdog, and it tastes somewhat like my mother’s meatloaf (which raises other interesting questions).
Three things about haggis:
- It was preceded by The Presentation of The Haggis, a ceremony that involved an enthusiastic/aggressive-sounding story in half-English, half-Scottish, rendering it difficult to follow, and it concluded with stabbing the haggis with a large butcher knife.
- I’ve eaten haggis before in Scotland, and I didn’t die.
- My team name for Fantasy Football was “Haggis for Everyone” (which, by the way, won the league. If only I’d followed through with our unofficial wager, I’d be swimming in gelato right now.****)
****as it stands, I won nothing. Except bragging rights, which I didn’t follow through with either.
A picture of the haggis:
Accompanying the haggis (located at the bottom left) are “Tatties and Neeps,” which are mashed potatoes and turnips, respectively. You’ll also see (in the top right) mashed carrots, which were an unwelcome surprised when I dove into them thinking they were sweet potatoes. Overall, though, I found this second course quite palatable.
I’m usually not a crème brulee eater, primarily because I prefer chocolate, torts, pies, and ice cream to desserts that don’t have those things, but nevertheless I was one of the few who scraped clean the dessert bowl. (This, after eating all three of the previous courses.) Self-control and “dainty eating” are so overrated. And unattractive. And annoying.******
***** I could never date a man who eats less than I do. I would hate him.
Not pictured are the salad and main course. I didn’t want to be “that person,” but the haggis demanded a photo, and so did the dessert because, well, it’s dessert.
The Burns Supper also included dancing and singing and mingling, and overall made me want to jump on the next plane to Scotland.
In truth, I’ve been ready and willing to jump on the next plane to Scotland since 2008, because of this guy:
But then I actually visited Scotland, and I discovered other reason to like it as well, such as this:
Not pictured: Scottish accents and genial hospitality.
Thus was born within me a desire to live in Scotland. Not necessarily for the rest of my life (I don’t do well in dreary weather), but I’d like to live there for six months to a year. Ideally I would get a working holiday visa like I did in New Zealand, and then I could live in Edinburgh, work as a barista, and become the next JK Rowling. But that’s not possible to do as an American in Scotland because we are not allowed working holiday visas, so the next best option is to be a student.
(It is possible that my brain functions in non sequiturs, but I have a long list of reasons why entering the country as a student is a good idea.)
Last fall I stumbled across some scholarship opportunities, namely a little thing called “The Fulbright,” and I thought I’d apply.
“Don’t apply to the UK!”
“Only one in 150,493 people actually gets one of those.”
“Ha. Good luck.”
Common pieces of advice I received.
But, I was already being rejected from jobs left and right; it’s not like it was really going to damage my self-esteem. Plus, the payoff would be worth it on the off chance I got it.
Long story short: I did not get it.
However, as part of the Fulbright application process, I applied to the university itself (University of Glasgow, in this case) because the Fulbright was contingent upon my acceptance into the program.
And THAT I was accepted into, and offered a scholarship.
Unfortunately, the scholarship is less inclusive than the Fulbright, and leaves me with over half the tuition to pay. Short of stumbling across $14,000 on my daily bus commute, I don’t think I’ll be able to go.******
******Open to suggestions
However, because I was accepted to the University and am an “incoming/prospective student,” I was invited to the Burns Supper in Boston, and I went, and now I want to live in Scotland (still).
SO: If anyone out there knows of a way to con the government into letting me live and work in Scotland, and/or has heard of additional scholarships for which I can apply, please let me know.
6 thoughts on “Haggis for Everyone! A tribute to Scotland.”
That is too funny. My Scottish heritage has endeared me to hosting a small Burns’ Night Supper every January for his birthday for the past several years. I actually have a “Haggis guy” down in Oregon. And my Scottish grandfather (McPhee clan) who lived in Massachusetts, used to wear bright orange every year for the Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade. My mother said he always came home bloody, beaten, and beaming from ear to ear. (orange representing the Protestantism compared to the rampant Irish Catholicism of the day). Ah family traditions.
I had no idea there was a “McPhee” side of you! How exciting! Have you been to Scotland? Do you still have family there?
And you have a Haggis guy!? That’s legit. Do you have an Irn Bru guy, too? Because I’d like to borrow him if you do 🙂
I don’t have any family in Scotland that I know of today. Most of my Scottish ancestors emigrated to New Scotland (Nova Scotia) long, long ago. That’s how my family ended up in New England. I visited Scotland once when I was very young. Nothing but distant memories now, though, I do have it on my bucket list to revisit one day.
As to the Irn Bru guy, I do have one of those. Lol. There are a couple of international markets in Seattle that offer many of the beloved food stuffs from around the world. That is among the stuffs. Of course, a quick internet search shows that there are ways to order some online too if one were desperate enough—even on Amazon. 😉
Really? I will have to look into this! Or maybe you can let me borrow your Irn Bru guy –I’m sure he’d appreciate the business 🙂
Definitely get back to Scotland when you can. Granted, I’ve only been there once, but I contend it’s one of the greatest places on earth 🙂
Hate to break it to you, but Daddy is the meatloaf chef, not I or me (whichever is proper use of grammar). I personally have never eaten a meatloaf that I enjoyed so I guess I wouldn’t like haggas either. But I’d be willing to try. After all, I took a taste of raw hamburger meat when working in Ethiopia so as not to insult my Ethiopian friends. If I can do that, I can do anything (well almost–would never try Rocky Mt. oysters–not even on a bet)
You’re funny, mom.
1. I would’ve said “me” is correct, but now I feel confused.
2. you don’t like meatloaf either? I think it grew on me enough to enjoy the haggis. You might like it, but in an “oh, this isn’t as gross as I thought it’d be” kind of way.
3. haggis is better than raw hamburger
4. you’d NEVER try oysters? really? Covered in cocktail sauce, they’re great.